Nathan D'Cunha

Effects of social interventions on stress and inflammatory responses in dementia

Award: 
Dementia Australia Research Foundation PhD Scholarship
Project Snapshot: 

The National Gallery of Australia Art Dementia program provides individuals with dementia the experience to engage with others socially and with art in a safe space. However, there is limited quantitative evidence to support broader investment in the program. We aim to contribute to the evidence by examining the stress and inflammatory responses in individuals exposed to the art therapy program using only non-invasive measures. To determine whether the program is beneficial, we will use a cognitive test and carer reports to evaluate changes, and also measure lifestyle factors such as nutritional intake. This will be conducted as an 8-week controlled trial with pre and post measures. A follow up trial will investigate participants using a nutritional intervention to determine if there is an additive benefit. This research is expected to provide valuable insight into the ability of the program to improve quality of life in individuals with dementia.

Where are they now?: 

Nathan D'Cunha is a sessional academic teaching nutritional science at the University of Canberra. He commenced his PhD project in 2018.